Northfield, Minn. - The Gustavus Adolphus men’s soccer team earned a 2-1 victory over Carleton College in its MIAC-opener on Wednesday afternoon at Bell Field. The day belonged to Gustavus junior forward Zach Brown (Eau Claire, Wis.) who not only struck the equalizer to tie the match at 1-1 in the 20th minute, but who also netted the game-winner in the 74th minute to hand Carleton its first loss of the season. The Gusties improve to 4-1-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the MIAC, while the Knights drop to 3-1-2 overall and 0-1-0 in the MIAC.
“Another good performance from the lads today – this was a big one,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton following the win. “Zach Brown was just too hot for them to handle today. The first goal in particular was Robin van Persie esque – definitely one for the scrapbook.”
Carleton was the first to strike when Branden McGarrity headed in a cross from the left corner of the box at the 19:13 mark. Trent Elmore was credited with the assist, as the goal was McGarrity’s first of the year.
Less than a minute later at the 20:04 mark, Zach Brown hit the back of the net. The junior striker curled an 18-yard shot from the right wing past the goalkeeper and inside the left post to knot the game at 1-1.
The match would head into the half tied 1-1 with Gustavus holding a slight shots advantage at 6-4.
The two conference rivals played more than 50 minutes of scoreless soccer following Brown’s game-tying goal. With a corner kick opportunity in the 74th minute, David Lilly (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) put a ball in the box that was one-touched into the net by Brown at the 73:11 mark. The goal, which was Brown’s first game-winner of the year, also served as Lilly’s second assist of the season. Both Lilly’s dimes this year have led to game-winning goals.
Just as Gustavus’s offense was successful in solving a stingy Carleton defense, the Gustie defense was successful in shutting down an opportunistic and quick-hitting Carleton offense. Gustavus allowed just two shots in the second half, giving the Black and Gold a 13-8 shots advantage by the final whistle.
About his defensive effort, Middleton commented, “Elliot Emerson and Zach Schmith were imperious at the back. I was also very pleased with Jason Schwab who moved forward well and stood tall all match.”
Coach Middleton also complimented the play of Jonathan Balthazar (Fr., Evanston, Ill.) and Ryan Tollefsrud (Jr., Spearfish, S.D.). “Balthazar looks like a rising star, and Ryan Tollefsrud is like the road-runner – he never stops moving.”
Brett Ylonen (Jr., Lake Elmo, Minn.) picked up the victory in goal after making two saves, one of which came on a scoring chance by Devin Tomson-Moylan in the 80th minute. Ylonen improves to 4-1-1 with the win and now carries a goals against average of 0.53.
Carleton netminder Keenan Smith, who had allowed just one goal prior to this afternoon, suffered the loss in a two save outing.
“Overall, this was a great team effort with everybody contributing,” concluded Middleton. “A tough one this weekend against a talented team with a very ambitious young coach. We’ll enjoy the moment but it’s back on the ground and back to working hard tomorrow.”